H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
Summit for Peace in the Middle East
13 November 2016
Your Excellency, Mr. Ignacio Ybáñez
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation of Spain
Your Excellency Mr. Gabriel Echavarri
Mayor of Alicante
Your Excellency, Mr Cesar Sanchez Perez,
President of the Provincial Council f Alicante
Distinguished religious leaders,
I am very proud to be part of this initiative which was launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation of Spain.
You and I have a common objective. We serve the world by promoting peace, tolerance , stability and harmony.
As you know the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), is a UN organization that is committed to fostering a culture of peace. When launched as a political initiative of the UN Secretary General and cop-sponsored by Spain and Turkey, it was intended to equip the United Nations with a new tool of preventive diplomacy to apply to situations of cultural and identity tensions in a world both blessed and damned by the new paradigm of globalization
I find that our world is facing some major difficulties. None are more significant than increasing violence and threats to peace. As religious leaders, you have the opportunity to teach the shared humanistic values that lead to a culture of peace. You represent different segments of the same path, the path of Abraham or Ibrahim.
We have slowly become less vigilant in upholding our belief that the value of every human life is the same. There is no task more important than to protect the vulnerable as we protect ourselves. This is where I believe religious leaders have a crucial role to play. Central to all the great religions of the world is a commitment to the value of human life and a shared commitment to building peace across communities.
Yet, as I say this, I find that our world is also grappling with a rising tide of hostility. Hostility and also fear toward the “other” takes the form of intolerance, and too often violence.
Regretfully, some groups within religious communities misuse religion to incite and foster hostility toward others. Sectarian and communal violence is dividing societies, fueling violent conflict and destroying innocent lives.
It should be clear that religion does not advocate for violence. True faith stands for life. Religion can nurture good human beings capable of excessing compassion, mercy, forgiveness, truthfulness, humility and love.
Intolerance and violence in all their manifestations are obstacles to peace. Religious communities, leaders and people of faith have a special responsibility to confront hostility toward the “other” with tolerance, love and understanding.
Religious leaders can affirm a common humanity in which all men and women are recognized as human beings endowed with inalienable dignity. We recognize that each of our respective religious traditions has its own understanding of the foundation of human dignity and common humanity. But we share essential values such as love, compassion and tolerance. By affirming our shared values, we are also able to affirm our support for the wonderful diversity of human life and our common humanity.
Supporting and promoting this common humanity lies at the core of my work as High Representative for the Alliance of Civilization. It is in this spirit that I welcome you here and encourage you to apply all of your skills, all of your knowledge, and all of your passion, into constructive discussions.